Pushing for Fair, Legal Water Rates at MWD

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Pushing for Fair, Legal
Water Rates at MWD

In 2010, the Water Authority Board unanimously voted to challenge the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s 2011 and 2012 water rates in court. The lawsuit alleges that the rates are unlawful and force San Diego County ratepayers to pay more than the actual, reasonable and proportionate costs of MWD’s water transportation services. The overcharges are estimated to cost $40 million in 2012 alone and are projected to add up to $2.1 billion by 2047. 

The Water Authority actively litigated the rate case, prevailing on a number of motions including obtaining court orders granting discovery – the right to obtain evidence from MWD via answers to interrogatories and document requests. Depositions and other discovery procedures may follow. Due to MWD’s efforts to delay the case, the Water Authority was forced to file a second lawsuit in June 2012 to challenge MWD’s adopted rates for 2013 and 2014, which continue MWD’s unlawful practices. Both cases are being heard by the same judge in San Francisco.

Sidebar: 

Records Reveal
MWD's Governance is Broken

In October, the Water Authority sent Public Records Act requests to MWD and several of its member agencies to learn more about the activities of a group of MWD member agency managers, acting in concert with MWD staff. The Water Authority believed the group of public officials was meeting secretly and coordinating votes of their representatives on the MWD board of directors. 

The Water Authority announced in March what the documents revealed  – the existence of a self-described “Secret Society” of MWD member agencies. This group specifically excluded the Water Authority and, with assistance from MWD staff, coordinated policy decisions and rate matters to the disadvantage of the Water Authority. In April, the Water Authority sued the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for failing to release its public documents requested by the Water Authority as required by state law.